The Council and democracy Climate Change Action Plan - Annual Report 2020-21

Progress report - Workstream #3 Reducing consumption based emissions

Action 3.1 Sustainable Procurement

In 2020, we became the first local authority to trial the inclusion of an additional 10% environmental weighting within procurement to help reduce the carbon footprint of our consumption-based emissions. Five procurement exercises covering highways and external advertising were included in the trial (some of these were for framework contracts involving multiple suppliers) and the estimated total annual value of these contracts is £22m. Examples of the positive environmental behaviours elicited by the additional 10% weighting include successful bidders:

  • Setting carbon reduction targets for their organisation, including working to be net zero carbon by 2030
  • Monitoring the carbon emissions related to delivery of the contracted service, using credible tools such as the Carbon Trust’s SME emissions tool
  • Reducing carbon emissions from highways surface treatment by 10% per year between 2020-22

In March 2021, the roll out of the environmental weighting was approved by Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee and Executive. Opportunities continue to be identified for testing the 10% environmental weighting within new tenders such as the recent contract for the maintenance of Northwards Housing. The winning bidder demonstrated it had a raft of environmental and carbon reduction measures already in place and also made further commitments for the contract, including: 

  • to deliver year-on-year reductions in carbon emissions 
  • to recycle at least 90% of waste
  • to not use diesel vehicles for the contract
  • and to support households in fuel poverty.

Action 3.2 Tyndall Centre Report

The work outlined in Action 3.1 will support an extension of this activity to reduce the Council's indirect emissions and work is currently underway to estimate the carbon impact of different categories of procurement to support a prioritised approach to updating specifications, evaluation questions and monitoring. Within the existing social value protocols, the environmental questions have been updated to reflect the findings of the Tyndall Centre report on consumption-based emissions. The Carbon Literacy training, which draws on the Tyndall Centre and related research, has been delivered to our Integrated Commissioning and Procurement team to help them implement improvements to drive down indirect emissions. 

Action 3.3 Single Use Plastics (MCC Operational Estates and Markets)

We have committed to be Single Use Plastic free by 2024 in line with the Plastic Free Greater Manchester Pledge. In support of this, Operational Estates have implemented the following changes across the estate including the cafes in City and Central Libraries:

  • Issuing paper straws rather than plastic
  • Issuing corn starch cutlery instead of plastic 
  • Using biodegradable card serving boxes for food 
  • Ensuring all cleaning chemicals are cradle to grave sustainable products 
  • Refilling workstation cleaning sprays from concentrate
  • Avoiding plastic wrapping on products from cleaning material suppliers 

While the majority of Manchester Markets were closed due to COVID-19, work has been underway to review contractual arrangements to help eliminate single use plastics and to improve efficiencies around refuse collection across the city centre sites to increase recycling rates and reduce general waste. Options are now being explored to see what energy efficiency measures can be considered to improve the efficiencies of the pop-up markets and events in the city centre.
Additional positive environmental impacts have been delivered via procurement of the new Christmas decorations. Bidders were specifically asked in the invitation to tender to describe how they would contribute to reducing carbon emissions. The winning bidder stated it had reduced its carbon footprint by 40% in the prior 5 years. Their lights are LEDs and their motifs used in street decorations are 100% recyclable, derived from sugar cane and recycled aluminium. At the end of their usable life these motifs are returned to the manufacturing plant where 70% is composted and 30% recycled.

Action 3.4 Citywide Supplier Toolkit 

We are updating our existing toolkits for suppliers to support the adoption of an additional 10% environmental weighting in procurement (see action 3.1). These toolkits will include guidance for suppliers on improving their environmental performance to help drive positive action through supply chains and will feed into the rest of the work described here.
As a member of the Manchester Climate Change Partnership (MCCP), we are working with key local stakeholders to develop a shared approach to procurement and commissioning across the city that focuses on tackling climate change.

Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester are researching the evidence base for a shared citywide Supplier Toolkit to help drive reductions in the carbon footprint of supply chains via sustainable procurement and commissioning. There is an agreement amongst MCCP that any toolkit needs to be usable by SME’s as well as large organisations, therefore the Manchester Climate Change Agency have approached around 60 companies across a range of sectors to recruit volunteers for an initial pilot and consultation.

Action 3.5 Single Use Plastics (licensing and events)

In partnership with Julie’s Bicycle, we have produced a range of Sustainable Events Guides for council run events as well as events organised by third parties that are held on Council land. The guides are available on our website for use by event organisers, suppliers, service providers and venues, and include commitments to reduce an eliminate the use of Single Use Plastics. The guides were launched as part of an EU-funded URBACT C-Change project on tackling climate change within the culture sector. The event was attended by Manchester Climate Change Partnership, Manchester Arts and Sustainability Team and international project partners from Mantova, Sibenik, Wroclaw, Agueda and Gelsenkirchen - the guides have since been translated into two languages (Italian / Croatian) by these partners.

Two Council events were delivered in line with the new guide in 2019, prior to publication and before COVID-19 restrictions halted all event activity in March 2020. 

  • Manchester Day in 2019 featured a unique parade where everything was pushed, pulled, cycled or wheeled (except for a GM Fire and Rescue vehicle) and a large proportion of content was made from recycled and up-cycled materials. This event gained 4 stars in the externally verified Creative Green certification. 
  • The Festival of Manchester in 2019, held in Platt Fields Park, made water available to attendees via mains and a bowser to help reduce the sale of plastic water bottles and 15 food traders committed to using single-use plastic free cutlery and containers.

The learning from these events will be shared across event partners as part of roll out of the Sustainable Event Guides, which is now expected in 2021-22 in line with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. 

As all events were cancelled from March 2020 to late Summer 2021 due to COVID-19, work has focused on gathering data on single use plastics within events. £7k of funding was made available through the URBACT C-Change Project to support our Events Team to quantify the positive environmental impacts of measures to eliminate Single Use Plastics and to identify further potential to expand this good practice in future activities. The outcome of this report will be reviewed, and learnings applied to the 2021-22 event programme and disseminated to event partners. 

Across Manchester Markets, changes have been introduced to influence traders. 74 traders across the Arndale and Church Street Markets, as well as the additional traders at our Specialist and Pop-up Markets, have committed to use consumables that are 100% recyclable, 100% compostable, 100% biodegradable and disposable. Our Markets team has also made changes to the trader application process by adding an environmental section which includes sourcing of supplies, food miles and the trader recycling policy. This data is included as part of the application scoring system. The Markets team are now working through the challenges of policing contracts and supporting traders to live up to these commitments. 
21 caterers operating across the City’s parks have also committed to reduce and eliminate single use plastics as part of their licensing agreements. As with markets, work is underway to monitor these commitments.

Action 3.6 A Sustainable Food System  

The Manchester Food Board has drafted a Food Policy Statement and Manchester Food Recovery Action Plan to support the creation of a resilient food system. One of the Recovery Objectives is to "Reduce environmental impacts throughout the food system with a focus on food waste and a shift to more ecological practices." Legacy work is underway which builds on the food response during COVID-19. Safe food donations information is now live on our website.

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